MLK Peace and Justice Award Winners Recognized
Peace and Justice Award Winners recognized on January 22, 2013, were (left to right) Norma Ivy '74, Morrison England '77, '83, members of Operation Peacekeeper, Kaya Dantzler '15, Amy Jo Mattheis, Dari Sylvester, Cody Rommell, event organizer Trust Hilton, and Vice President Elizabeth Griego.
The annual Martin Luther King Jr. Peace and Justice Awards Dinner held on January 22 and honored members of the Pacific and San Joaquin communities who have demonstrated outstanding contributions to social justice and equality. Students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members recognized at the dinner were nominated by members of the University community.
Kaya Dantzler '15 is a student in the School of International Studies majoring in development and cultural change. She works with marginalized youth in underserved communities, including serving as a City Year Los Angeles corps member for the 2010-2011 academic year. Dantzler is also a student leader in the STEPS program, Black History Committee cochair, ASUOP senator, is active in the Black Student Union and Black Campus Ministries, and is an individual tutoring program manager at the Center for Community Involvement. In the words of one of her nominators, she "is standing on the shoulders of Dr. King as she continues her legacy of illustrious service."
Vice President for Student Life Elizabeth Griego was recognized as the key architect who envisioned and brought about the creation of Pacific's Multicultural Center as the home of the African, Latino/a, Asian Pacific Islander, Native American Center, the PRIDE Resource Center, and the Women's Resource Center. She established full time directors in the Community Involvement Program, Multicultural Affairs, and the Women's Resource Center and advocated and sought resources for inclusion initiatives such as the Biannual LGBT student conference and the Stockton Labor Day Pow Wow.
Visiting lecturer AmyJo Mattheis founded and led the local nonprofit Way of Compassion Community and served in the Peace Corps in Ghana, West Africa. She was a Special Assistant to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for the Clinton Administration, and served as an ordained Lutheran pastor for 10 years in New York City and in Stockton. Currently, as an instructor in the Pacific Seminar program, she communicates the lessons and values of social justice that she learned working in Africa and America to her students here at Pacific.
Dari Sylvester, associate professor of political science professor and director of research at the Jacoby Center for Public Service and Civic Leadership, has dedicated her professional and private life to empowering the marginalized and politically underrepresented through her pedagogy, research, and service. Her recent awards include the Podesto Award for Excellence in Student Life, Mentoring, and Counseling and the Adaljiza Sosa-Riddell Award for Exemplary Mentoring of Latino/a Students in Political Science. Her current research is focused on the civil impact of foreclosure in the San Joaquin Valley.
Morrison England '77, '83 is the Chief United States District Court Judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. In the words of his nominator, "everything he stands for epitomizes justice and equality." He received his B.A. from the College of the Pacific and his J.D. from Pacific McGeorge School of Law. Joining the Board of Regents in 2006, England is a relentless and committed social justice advocate for the students.
Norma (Clayton) Ivy '74 has been a champion for change and an advocate for Pacific and its students for many years. She has created or assisted in the implementation of many groundbreaking events and programs at Pacific that promoted justice, diversity, inclusiveness, and collaboration and enhanced the Pacific experience. She is passionate in solving the challenge of recruitment and retention of black students at Pacific, and has worked towards a solution by meeting with President Eibeck and by building bridges between alumni and students. She was instrumental in mobilizing alumni to donate $30,000 to secure a permanent public space to display the achievements of black Pacificans, assisted the Women's Resource Center in bringing speakers to discuss social issues affecting women of color, and organized a tour of the campus for 70 students from Bidwell Elementary School in Sacramento. Though she now resides in Sacramento, she visits campus frequently and acts to ensure that Pacific is living up to its diversity and inclusion statement.
Cody Rommel works with Fathers & Families of San Joaquin in downtown Stockton. In his capacity as a Family Educator in the Mending Families program, he works directly with local low income families and fathers coming out of incarceration, and has personally helped connect the homeless, young low-income families, and other marginalized people with the resources they need to move forward. He is also a youth organizer of the California Student and Youth Bill of Rights, and a passionate advocate of the underrepresented and underprivileged.
Operation Peacekeeper is an organization made up of Youth Outreach Workers who convey a credible, clear message about the consequences of gang violence to young people involved in or at risk of being involved in gangs, and seeks to help them choose better options for their lives. They are streetwise men trained in community organizing, mentoring, mediation, conflict resolution, and case management. Working in neighborhood settings wherever young people at risk of violence are found-including schools, parks, street corners, and apartment complexes-they serve as mentors and positive role models for youth.